Vicki Tan has worked at companies that change the way we travel, think about our mental health, and access music from around the globe. To each of these roles she has brought her background in psychology, to better understand the needs of the people using these products.
We chat with Vicki about some of the things she has learned over the course of her career, from Lyft to Headspace to Spotify, the ways that the pandemic has changed her work and her creative process, and how her team does research.
Vicki also talks about why she regularly takes a sabbatical from her work, and why “finding umami” is important to figuring out the core mission of a company.
Vicki Tan is an Associate Principal Product Designer at Spotify Earlier in her career, she was a senior product designer at Headspace, worked on communication and UX design at Google, and product design at Lyft. According to Frank Yoo, design director at Lyft, Vicki “is positive and thoughtful and puts as much care into people and teams as she does creating the artifacts themselves.”
Weitere Episoden von „Design Better Podcast“
Spotify’s Vicki Tan: Learning from new voices
47:16Vicki Tan has worked at companies that change the way we travel, think about our mental health, and access music from around the globe. To each of these roles she has brought her background in psychology, to better understand the needs of the people using these products. We chat with Vicki about some of the things she has learned over the course of her career, from Lyft to Headspace to Spotify, the ways that the pandemic has changed her work and her creative process, and how her team does research. Vicki also talks about why she regularly takes a sabbatical from her work, and why “finding umami” is important to figuring out the core mission of a company. Bio Vicki Tan is an Associate Principal Product Designer at Spotify Earlier in her career, she was a senior product designer at Headspace, worked on communication and UX design at Google, and product design at Lyft. According to Frank Yoo, design director at Lyft, Vicki “is positive and thoughtful and puts as much care into people and teams as she does creating the artifacts themselves.”
Judy Wert: Navigating career changes
40:24The way that we work has been disrupted by the global pandemic, and for those of us who are fortunate enough to have kept our jobs, it’s also caused many of us to question why we do what we do, and wonder if there are ways we could have a more positive influence on the world. We thought it would be great to speak with Judy Wert, co-founder of the executive search agency Wert & Co, who has guided many leaders through navigating career changes, and who shares her perspective on knowing when it’s time for something new, and when it might be better to stick it out. We also chat with Judy about pay transparency, the kinds of skills that individual contributors should cultivate to advance in their career, and tips on negotiating your salary. Bio Judy has been working with the leadership of innovative companies for over 25 years. She has earned an international reputation as a pivotal force in executive search. A trusted authority in the world of design and business, Judy is also known for bringing an added dimension to her work—a humanistic approach—fostering deep relationships through empathy, intuition, and curiosity.
Rewind: Airbnb’s Benjamin Evans on the power of inclusive design
48:57Benjamin Evans, Inclusive Design Lead for Airbnb, is part of a new kind of problem solvers tackling issues like racism, sexism, and bias in digital product design. In this episode of the Design Better Podcast, Eli and Aarron chat with Benjamin about using techniques like design thinking, research, and storytelling to ensure a more inclusive experience for all your users.
Scott Berkun: How design makes the world
49:05Do you have a colleague who just doesn’t get what design is all about? Or maybe you’ve tried explaining it to your parents, but they just respond by asking you to fix their printer. If that’s the case, then Scott Berkun has written a book for you, to give to them. It’s called How Design Makes the World, and it’s a great beginner’s guide to how design shapes just about everything we interact with in modern society, for better or for worse. It is also a good refresher for those of us who are more well-versed in design. Scott—who has written other bestselling books like The Myths of Innovation and Making Things Happen—does a great job of distilling design concepts down into everyday examples that are accessible and engaging. In our conversation, we chat with Scott about the differences in thinking between designers and engineers, what UX design has to do with deep-sea anglerfish, and how good design is often shaped by understanding the constraints on a product. Bio Scott Berkun is a bestselling author and popular speaker on creativity, leading projects, public speaking, design and many other subjects. He’s the author of eight books, including How Design Makes The World, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker, and The Year Without Pants. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian, Wired magazine, USA Today, Fast Company, National Public Radio, CNN, NPR, MSNBC and other media. His popular blog is at scottberkun.com and he tweets at @berkun.
Ford’s Sandy Fershee: Driving innovation with human-centered design
38:25The most innovative electric car announced in 2021 was not a Tesla, but a Ford. The new Ford F-150 Lightning, a fully electric version of the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 30 years, is the culmination of thorough user research and fresh thinking on a familiar product. We were curious to learn how design and innovation are playing a role in Ford’s transformation, so we’re excited to bring Sandy Fershee, lab director at D-Ford Detroit, on to the show. Sandy talks about her role at D-Ford, and we also discuss the challenges of doing research & development in a large organization, how her team shares their design and innovation tools with the whole company, and how they approach design at the intersection of hardware and software. Bio Sandy Fershee leads a human-centered design team at At D-Ford Detroit, pushing the edge of Ford’s future strategies. They design new products, services, and ventures that customers love and drive business profitability. Prior to this role, Sandy was the global leader of Experience Design at Ford, transforming Ford’s ways of working through human-centered design and creating new possibilities for future customer and business value. Sandy was also Managing Director at the agency Punchcut, and Design Manager at Motorola.
Astra CEO Chris Kemp: Bringing talent into your orbit
44:15Over 50 years after humans first landed on the moon, it’s still extremely difficult—and expensive—to get anything into orbit. But imagine if there were a more affordable way to give scientists and entrepreneurs access to space. We could develop more efficient agriculture to feed people more affordably and sustainably, or more closely monitor the evolution of dangerous storm patterns to save lives. The company Astra is on a mission to do just that, by creating a lower-cost platform that offers smaller, more frequent launches to get satellites into space. We sat down with Astra co-founder and CEO Chris Kemp to learn more about how his teams collaborate on the immense technical challenges involved, and how design is playing an increasingly important role as traditional control room roles become automated. Chris has an impressive background, from founding 3 companies to being the CTO of NASA, and we dive into the arc of his career, the lessons he has learned in leading people, and how he communicates mission and vision to his teams. Bio Chris is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Astra. Previously, Chris founded several tech start-ups and served as the Chief Technology Officer of NASA, where he introduced new technologies into America’s space program and founded OpenStack, the largest and fastest-growing open-source project in history. While at NASA, Chris worked at the White House to develop the cloud strategy for the United States. Chris has been recognized in the Silicon Valley Business Journal "40 under 40," the CNBC Disruptor 50 list, and received the prestigious "Federal 100" award for his service at NASA.
Rewind: Julie Zhuo: Learning to manage like a leader
53:12Listen as Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design at Facebook and author of The Making of a Manager, recalls some of her earliest professional experiences at one of the fastest growing companies on the planet. She reveals how she got her start and grew to be a highly influential design leader renowned for building top-notch teams. Julie talks about the difference between leading and managing, and shares personal examples that can help you advance your career. Bio Julie Zhuo is one of Silicon Valley’s top product design executives and author of The Making of a Manager. Aside from her day job as VP of Product Design at Facebook, Julie writes about technology, design, and leadership on her popular blog The Year of the Looking Glass and in The New York Times and Fast Company.
RISD President Rosanne Somerson: Transformation through education
45:54In its 144-year history, the Rhode Island School of Design—also known as RISD—has graduated numerous notable designers and creatives, from graphic designers Shepard Fairey and Tobias Frere-Jones, to painter Kara Walker, to cartoonist Roz Chast, to Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. Rosanne Somerson became president of RISD in 2015 after a distinguished teaching career there (and after John Maeda’s departure). We speak with her about some of the common traits of RISDs most successful graduates. We also learn what she brings from her own studio practice of furniture design to her current work, how COVID has changed higher education, and about the power of a degree in the arts. Rosanne also talks about how the overlap of disciplines leads to innovation, and the importance of staying connected to your craft. Bio An accomplished educator, academic leader and furniture designer, and a sought-after speaker and juror, President Rosanne Somerson is an advocate for the arts and the relevance of RISD’s unique type of studio-based education. As the 17th president she is committed to expanding inclusion, equity and access to enhance a genuinely rich learning environment full of diverse experiences, viewpoints and talents. Somerson is also a practitioner with three decades of experience directing her own furniture design studio. Somerson has deep roots at RISD—extending back to when she was an undergraduate student at the college in the 1970s. In 1985 she returned to campus to teach furniture design, and in 1995 became the first leader of RISD’s new Furniture Design department, helping to establish its strong reputation in the field. After subsequently serving in several academic leadership roles on an interim basis, Somerson emerged as the top candidate in two separate international searches, which led to her appointment as provost in 2012 and then president in 2015. An interview with Somerson is included in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Oral History Project and she has earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts along with the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Crafts Educator Award and a 2019 Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts.
Sara Seager: Pushing boundaries through collaboration
36:41If you’re lucky enough to look up into a clear night sky and see the thousands of stars visible to the naked eye, it’s hard not to wonder, “are there other planets like ours out there?” Our guest for this episode, Professor Sara Seager, is on a mission to discover potentially habitable planets outside our solar system. Sara is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT, and to discover these exoplanets, she relies not only on her own brilliance—she’s the recipient of a Macarthur Fellowship, otherwise known as the “Genius Grant”—but also on some pretty extreme collaboration across different disciplines. In the course of our conversation, we talk to Sara about how these teams push beyond initial friction, and how giving herself permission to fail has driven much of her success. Sara is also the author of a memoir titled The Smallest Lights in the Universe, and we talk to her about the book and bringing her full self to work Bio Sara Seager is the Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Science, Professor of Physics, and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her past research is credited with laying the foundation for the field of exoplanet atmospheres, while her current research focuses on exoplanet atmospheres and the future search for signs of life by way of atmospheric biosignature gases. Professor Seager is involved with a number of space-based exoplanet searches including as the Deputy Science Director for the MIT-led NASA mission TESS, as the PI for the on-orbit JPL/MIT CubeSat ASTERIA, and as a lead for Starshade Rendezvous Mission (a space-based mission concept under technology development for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs). Having authored three of her own books (’The Smallest Lights in the Universe: a Memoir’, ‘Exoplanets and the Search For Habitable Worlds’, and ‘Exoplanet Atmospheres: Physical Processes’) and edited a fourth, Sara has experience consolidating years of research into an authoritative resource and is credited with producing a book that “will be a bible for students and professionals interested in exoplanet atmospheres.”
Dan Pink: Creating meaningful connections
44:06To Sell is Human. That’s the title of one of Dan Pink’s books, and also the foundational concept for his recent Masterclass on persuasion. Dan is also the bestselling author of books like When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind, and we sat down with him to discuss how we’re all tasked with selling something in our day-to-day roles, and why collaboration is the key to being persuasive. We chat with Dan about creating meaningful connections in a Zoom-dominated workplace, and giving teams a sense of purpose given all that is going on in the world today. Dan also dives into the reasons that design literacy is critical for all business leaders who want to remain relevant. We hope you enjoy this mini-masterclass with Dan, and thanks for joining us as we kick off the sixth season of the show.